US majors explore options

25 April 2008

Three of the largest crane rental companies in North America – Maxim Crane Works, Essex Crane Rental, and Marino Crane Rental – have made it known that they are either for sale, open to a merger, seeking investors or “exploring options.”

In last month's News we reported that Maxim Crane Works Holdings had retained Goldman, Sachs & Co. to act as financial advisor while “exploring strategic business alternatives that will enable Maxim to continue to grow its business.”

Maxim would not comment on the specifics of the announcement, but said in a statement that “alternatives under consideration would include a merger, sale of the business, or other potential transactions.” While in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2004, Maxim was the subject of a $325 million bid from AmQuip.

IC sister publication American Cranes & Transport reported that Joseph Vaccarello, Maxim's chief financial officer, would not speculate on the reasons for the sale, whether it was general market conditions or reasons specific to the company.

Carl Marino was also unwilling to give details about Marino Crane Rental's situation, but did acknowledge his firm had made formal arrangements to solicit investors.

Ron Schad, CEO of Essex, said he would talk about Essex Crane Rental's decision to sell the company at a later date.

Industry insiders, who were quick to speculate but who do not want to be quoted, said there are several market conditions that can contribute to a company with a large inventory of cranes putting itself up for sale. One view was that because used cranes prices are high – some used models are selling for more than when they were new – the assets of these companies are worth more than ever. Another leading speculation is that a couple of the companies are ready for “profit taking,” given the strength of the market. Others speculated that financial problems may be the reason, even though the crane rental market is buoyant.

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